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tv   Nationalism U.S. Foreign Policy  CSPAN  November 23, 2017 12:15pm-1:16pm EST

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skin trade that like powers entire colonies is pretty much over. yeah. and you would never imagine that it was because -- partly because deer were so drastically overhuntinged because they're such a nuisance in the southeast today, right? messing up your garden, hitting your car. is that it? all right. well, hey, thanks very much for being here this evening and i hope you all have a wonderful weekend. you're watching american history tv. all weekend, every weekend on cspan3. to join the conversation, like us on facebook at cspan history. next on american history tv,
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bard college foreign apairs and humanities professor walter russell mead discusses nationalism and u.s. foreign policy. he focuses on what he calls jacksonian populist nationalists and explains how presidents roosevelt, truman and reagan gained their support. he suggests that the trump administration, whose supporters are largely current day jacksonians, could learn from this presidential history. the center for strategic and international studies hosted this hour-long event. today we are blessed to have one of the nation's most distinguished historians of u.s. foreign policy, walter russell mead. he's a distinguished fellow at the hudson institute and also the james clark chase professor of foreign affairs and humanities at bard college. he's an honors graduate where he received prizes for history, debate and translation of new testament greek. he's the author of numerous
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articles and books which i'm gathering many of you have read, which are valuable not just for their insight and originality but also their clarity of expression. and for those younger members of the audience, you may have in your education read his book, "the special providence, american foreign policy and how it changed the world" which identified four over arching trends in u.s. policy. this way of thinking about foreign policy remains a touchstone of how we think about foreign policy today. he's going to talk about presidents today and focus on a different group. franklin roosevelt, harry s. truman and ronald reagan. i think you'll learn a lot from hearing about these three because i think they provide us a lot of insights into our current situation. we are going to after he speaks take questions from the audience. we'll also take questions on our
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twitter site from the remote location. i don't think we have it posted up here, but the twitter handle is @csispmdh, program for military and diplomatic history. please join me in welcoming walter russell mead. all right. well, thank you for that introduction and the opportunity to speak today. i just want to congratulate you and csis for taking military and diplomatic history seriously. personally i think this may be one of the critical gaps in american foreign policy thinking is the failure of colleges and universities to put a high enough value on this kind of
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knowledge, certainly in conversations i have had with policy makers over the years, it's been very clear that their hunger for historical knowledge and background when facing serious decisions and complex national security situations is immense. so let's hope that this center can be part of a movement of reviving this -- one of the most important studies that there is. what i'm going to do today is talk about a particular problem in american foreign policy, one that i think is the key to many other difficulties and look at how three different presidents managed this problem, dealt with this condition. and the problem is, is this, as those of you who have read "special providence" know, i see
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four schools of thought in american foreign policy. hamiltonians who tend to think in terms of a global economic order, building national security on the basis of a strong state, strong alliance between big business and big government, working to build a global trading system that is a foundation for american prosperity and international security. wilsonians who also think in terms of a global order, but rather than the hamiltonian emphasis on commerce and trade would put human rights, rule of law, promotion of international institutions at the core of the order building. wilsonians and hamiltonians are often able to collaborate because the difference is sometimes one of emphasis and priority. both see global order as important. both see that the american interest is best realized in the
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creation of systems in which others have a stake. both are concerned about the legitimacy of american foreign policy in the eyes of key allies and others with whom we deal. both are pretty comfortable with the idea of a strong national state. then you have the jeffersonians who are much more cautious about international -- about entangling alliances. i suppose you could argue that our colleagues over at the kato institute exemplify a jeffersonian approach to foreign policy and a consistent jeffersonian would say they want a small government abroad for the same reasons they like a small government at home. big, intrusive government creates problems, it can -- rather than making the country
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safer, hamiltonian trade skeemsz or wilsonian human rights efforts can attract hostility from others which rebound on the united states. some would argue that 911 was a classic example where american engagement in the middle east made us a target that we might not have otherwise have been. so these schools -- the jeffersonians are a more difficult fit with the hamiltonian, wilsonian world building, but at times the jeffersonian perspective, which looks to have as little foreign policy as possible, and if you've got to have foreign policy to do it as cleverly and efficiently as possible has led to some very important and constructive steps. i would argue that in his way, john quincy adams had some jeffersonian qualities, but george kinnon i think is an
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example of somebody who's instincts were jeffersonian in some ways and contributed a great deal to the formation of american national strategy. these schools, while having some differences between them, tend to all be -- have some things in common. they are by and large well represented in the elite. they are ideologies that have a lot of appeal to the upper middle class and to well educated professional people. and so they tend -- it's easy -- even if they don't always agree, it's often easy for them to talk with one another because they often operate in the same cultural and political context. but the fourth school in american foreign policy, which i named for andrew jackson, the jacksonian school is a bit
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different. they are skeptical about hamiltonian and wilsonian world building measures. they don't particularly think that big business is here to help them or that it can be oppose the idea that american soldiers should be used as pawns or instruments for promoting democracy in other countries. why should an american mother's son die so that an iraqi mother's son can live. for jacksonians when donald trump talks about america first, it's sort of obvious common sense. what, we're going to have a president that's going to make america second, america third? third to what? this is so obvious that anybody who disagrees with it must be an idiot. or anybody who goes, oh, when
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somebody says something like that is not the kind of person you want to have running foreign policy. jacksonians are also often easily mobilized against cultural and political elites, don't trust them. they tend to be realists, believing that there is no permanent international peace. while we may have allies who we can get along with and even have relationships of some trust and confidence in, at the end in the international order is hobsian, not lockian and there's a difference among people within the folk community among whom we have relationships of trust and honor. and then the enemies or those abroad, the foreigners, the aliens, jacksonians worry about issues like migration, illegal migration. they see american culture as something to preserve and as the source of american
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exceptionalism. now, the problem -- i argue in "special providence" that the kpichs of these four schools has contributed to american success, and i believe that. but there is a recurring problem, which is that the jacksonians are so numerous, and when roused so politically powerful, that you can't really have an american foreign -- an effective strong expensive american foreign policy without jacksonian support. also when they really want to do something, it's very hard not to do it. difficult and costly. so the question has always been how do you get the power of jacksonian political support behind foreign policies that can also command support from
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hamiltonian, jeffersonian or wilsonian elites? and i think we're seeing in our country today a moment when that gap is wider than ever and has created a real crisis in american foreign policy. i noticed that -- one of the things i noticed when president trump took office is that something that happened very early is that a portrait of andrew jackson was installed in the oval office. i learned later from steve bannon that that was actually because steve bannon, having read "special providence" saw that jacksonian descriptor as an excellent one for the president and the president's foreign policy and persuaded the president to put it there. that's at least what mr. bannon is saying. so we are now seeing, i think, in the disarray of american foreign policy and the immense
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gap between what people around us in the washington policy community and many of our colleagues in other countries see as the right kind or the effective kind of foreign policy and then the instincts and approaches of president trump and the people who supported the president and got him elected. that gap, that tension is obvious now as the big issue for american foreign policy. and but here's the thing. this isn't new. this is a problem that presidents have repeatedly faced. jacksonian america is not new. its attitudes and preferences are not new. the gap between jacksonian instincts and wilsonian and hamiltonian visions is not new. many presidents have faced this.
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many presidents have found ways of dealing with it and to some degree, the more effective they are at managing this gap, the more effective they are in foreign policy generally. so i thought today i would talk about three presidents who in my judgment actually ended up managing this pretty effectively. franklin roosevelt, harry truman, and ronald reagan. you'll note, first of all, this is not very partisan. jacksonians were -- two of these three presidents were liberal democrats, and ronald reagan was someone who started off as a liberal democrat. reminded me a little bit of what mae west used to say. i was born snow white but i drifted. and ronald reagan drifted away from the liberal democratic roots. but my point is, that in fact in the past, liberal democrats have
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worked very effectively to marshal jacksonian support. so if we look at fdr, we see that he approached jacksonian america very carefully and with a great deal of respect and thought. the first thing is that his economic program, beginning with his hundred days, was focused, as some would say, like a laser on dealing with the problems that jacksonian americans were experiencing during the depression. that is in the first instance to get the economy moving again, reopen the banks, protect millions of americans had been wiped out. in those days if your bank went
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bankrupt and you could lose all the money that you had in your accounts, and even in a best case scenario it might be frozen for a long time. roosevelt by putting in federal deposit insurance aimed primarily as smaller savers gave people an assurance that in the future their savings would be real. he provided jobs, he provided food, he addressed very specifically the needs of people. my own grandfather who was a poor south carolina farmer lost all of his money in a bank failure and would later say that franklin roosevelt fed his family for four years during the depths of the depression. millions of americans saw roosevelt in that way. it created a foundation of trust. and while we think of jacksonian
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as populists and, therefore, nonelite and rich, you look back over american history and franklin roosevelt wasn't the only aristocrat who managed to capture jacksonian trust. george washington did so. andrew jackson himself was a rich man, self made, but wealthy. theodore roosevelt, very wealthy. for that matter, abraham lincoln had become a very affluent and successful corporate lawyer who did a lot of railroad cases. so we're not saying that jacksonians only go for sort of tribunes of the people, the great unwashed, but repeatedly in american history people who come from economic success and even inherited wealth can reach out and build this relationship with jacksonian america based on
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understanding their economic needs, their cultural and political preferences. but having established a foundation of trust, as roosevelt looked at the darkening international scene, he recognized his limits. that is jacksonian america was not ready to face hitler in 1938. we might have all wished he was. jacksonian america was profoundly anti-immigrant. by the way, in 1924 we reduced immigration by about 90%. that was the last time levels of immigration in the u.s. had reached the level that they are now in terms of percentage of the population. the result was a 90% cut in the effective immigration rate that lasted for about -- for well over a generation. and it meant that in the run-up to world war ii, the united
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states was closed for refugees. roosevelt didn't actually spend his political capital on admission of refugees. he understood jacksonian red lines didn't like them, but observed them. and conserved his trust. then after pearl harbor, jacksonians were ready for war when japan attacked. a sneak attack, all of this as jacksonians were determined to get out there and punish japan. but here's where roosevelt exercised leadership. the whole country was ready to go out and fight a war with japan in the pacific in revenge for pearl harbor, and roosevelt says europe first. he imposed a strategy on jacksonian america that was not its first choice. was able to do that because of
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his personal prestige, the trust people placed in him, and he made it stick. so what we see is that a mix of trust building, reaching out, solving real economic problems that real people encounter, not wasting your political capital by unnecessarily offending things but oreserving your political capital when you really need people to trust you and follow your leadership, roosevelt was able to bring a united country into and through the second world war. his successor, harry truman, faced a different set of problems.
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after world war ii as after world war i, americans wanted nothing except to demobilize appeared come home. over 90% of the u.s. military machine built up in world war ii was almost immediately demobilized, deconstructed after the war. in fact, again, roosevelt with his understanding of jacksonian america, one of the reasons that he was so forthcoming, some would argue, with stalin was his conviction that he would not be able to keep american troops in europe for more than about a year after the war because of the lack of interest in the american people in an indefinite military presence in europe once hitler had been defeated. so he knew in a sense he had many fewer cards in his hand, he believed, than some later historians have thought he did. but again, it shows a president
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who accepts the policy preferences of jacksonian america as real facts, which must be treated with the respect that all facts deserve. and any statesman, any leader will tell you that the facts are what really matter. now, truman then by 1947 has to deal with a new set of issues. that is the soviet union is now beginning to challenge. and in the winter of 1947, basically in six weeks the british give up trying to maintain a global empire. you have this terrible freeze in the winter of 1947. the coal freezes in the pits. the trains can't run. the harbors freeze. the crops are destroyed.
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something like 20% of the animals are killed. rationing is lower than during than wartime. factories have to close because there's no power. the british labor cabinet had been trying to maintain expenditures to help the greek government defeat the communists in that civil war, support turkey against the soviet union, iran against the soviet union, all because the british were sort of hoping that they could use the oil in the middle east as a way to prop up the sterling zone and a potential resurgence of british power. but with the devastation at home in '47, they give it up and announce in a few weeks they're getting out of india, deal or no deal on a date certain. they're getting out of greece and turkey, and they're throwing
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the palestine problem back to the united nations. just a complete kind of throwing in the towel. and truman now has to get american support for a very different kind of world. if stalin with britain out of the scene, if stalin is going to be stopped in the middle east or in western europe, the americans are going to have to come in. meanwhile he's hearing from his generals and his economists and his diplomats that the european situation is far worse than thought. the european economies are not recovering after the war. the cold winter in britain is affecting them too. but in general, they're actually losing ground and you're beginning to see france, germany, italy, melting in ways that might well lead to communist takeovers in these countries. truman has to get the country to
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act. he's got republican majorities in congress that are hostile and hungry, because the democrats have been running politics for 20 years. he's got public dislike of troops and foreign aid, things that jacksonians really are not interested in. so there were famous meetings, where truman, atchison and his staff, congressmen, senator vanden burke and others are meeting and trying to make the case. a state department official talks about the importance of european recovery and strategic stuff and it's not moving the republicans. atchison jumps in with a statement about the communists are coming and the communist danger is going to wreck everything. the communists are on the march. and basically what truman then hears from the republicans in congress is if you can sell that message, take that message, we'll support you. we won't support you on some
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kind of elaborate, you know, diplomatic complex thing. but if you can scare the hell out of the american people, you can get what you need. and so the truman administration does. and in some ways this red scare would come back and backfire. you have mccarthyism, all kinds of excesses take place. people attack truman. well, if you're doing everything for europe, why aren't you trying to stop communism in china? why are you just letting them lose. it's a big problem. nevertheless, it gets the job done. the marshall plan, probably the most brilliant american foreign policy stroke since the louisiana purchase, comes about not by convincing the american people of the glories of foreign aid, of hamiltonian and
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wilsonian wisdom, but by scaring the hell out of people about the very real threat of a communist takeover. i'm afraid today, by the way, we have a lot of intellectuals and foreign policy activists who would let the marshall plan go before they would indulge in those kinds of scare tactics. but the truth is, if you want to do something big in american politi politics, in american foreign policy, you cannot do it without jacksonians. and jacksonians will only act for jacksonian reasons. if your idea is i'll persuade them all not to be jacksonian anymore but i'll turn them into wilsonians or hamiltonians, if truman had tried that, by the
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time he'd realized that never would have worked, stalin would have been in paris. so if you're serious about american foreign policy, you have to be serious about understanding jacksonians and working with jacksonians, and that means working within a framework that they understand, recognize and can support. but let's go to ronald reagan. again, i want to take just one incident from reagan's career, and i want to be able to open this up to discussion and q & a, so i don't want to go on forever. but ronald reagan found himself in a real pickle. he was elected in part because of jacksonian sort of discontent with the carter presidency. there was, first of all, the sale -- the return of the panama canal to what ronald reagan called a ten-horn dictator. i think it was reagan at that --
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or was it barry goldwater who says it's ours, we stole it fair and square. but giving back the panama canal was one of those things that to jacksonians seemed idiotic and crazy. for carter, it was important enough and he could get the two-thirds majority of the senate, which is very difficult, and so he got that through. but it hurt him with jacksonians. and then with the iranian takeover of the u.s. embassy and carter's apparent inability to do anything but hope that iran would be nice and give them back, particularly after the failure of the hostage rescue, it was this corrosive attack on carter's standing that helped pave the way for reagan's victory. reagan knew he owed his place in office to jacksonian discontent
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with jimmy carter and with the democratic party in the late 1970s. so he sent -- you know, he wants a muscular foreign policy, a big military buildup. he has plans to end the cold war by essentially provoking an arms race with russia that will make them go back -- bankrupt them. he comes up to a big problem. we have trouble in lebanon, trouble in beirut. reagan sends the marines into beirut. and a bomb goes off and hundreds of marines die. a crisis, in that sense a bigger foreign policy disaster than anything that carter had experienced. what does he do? actually he does nothing in beirut. he does not reintroduce troops
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into beirut. he doesn't bombay route to smitherenes. a few weeks later there is a crisis on the island of grenada. there reagan sends in the troops, sends in the planes, defeats a hundred cubans or however many there were and liberates grenada to great american acclaim. it was a symbolic use of power. it was politics as theater to some degree. and jacksonian america, as much of the rest of america, ate it up. my point here is that if you understand jacksonian america, you know, for one thing,
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jacksonians really don't like long inconclusive wars when american soldiers are getting killed and there doesn't seem to be some kind of path to victory. and so you do everything you can to avoid it. to think that to be a jacksonian is to be some kind of a brash war monger who's never seen a conflict opportunity that you didn't like, that's not how it works. you need to -- you need to think hard and carefully about when you -- when you attack, when you don't attack, what is your political purpose, do you have a political purpose, is your strategy viable, does it lead to victory? and so ronald reagan, again, by the end of his administration in part because he has this jacksonian trust, is willing to make offers to gorbachev that
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horrify hard-liners in the american establishment. and again, keep his support among jacksonians. and so an intelligent, thoughtful president who can instinctively grasp the jacksonian point of view and integrate that into american foreign policy can actually achieve -- can summon greater resources to necessary tasks, but also shape policy in ways that make sense not just no jacksonians but for the other schools who remain important and a source of critical insight and strategic thinking. so i'm just going to close with the observation that in our
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climate, in our cultural and political climate today, there are many people who would rather lose the marshall plan than stoop to be nice to jacksonians. there's a sense among some that really what -- that the problem with american foreign policy is that jacksonians exist. indeed, the problem with american society is that jacksonians exist. and so the only way to succeed and to be true to ourselves is to, you know, crush the bitter clingers with their guns and their bibles. break their cultural ties of memory. offend their sensibility. you know, demoralize, defeat and scatter them. i'm afraid this rests on a fundamental misconception of
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american society. i don't think this is possible. as a historian, as a student of american politics, as a student of america who's lived in many different parts of this different parts of this country over the years, my own personal judgment is that that's just not possible. and that the reason so many people in our academic and policy communities think it is possible simply reflects their lack of knowledge about the country they live in. they took a junior year aboard and understand about guatemala. they didn't take a study abroad in georgia or kansas. in fact, they would think that unbelievably dull and worthless. so, i would argue then that we
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in the policy community and think tank world need to think with respect of the jacksonian era. that doesn't mean one critically adopts every policy reference that jacksonians have. jacksonian america, historically, has understood the importance of leadership. it will go europe first. when told to do that by a man or person it has come to respect. so you don't have to work effectively with jacksonians, you don't have to give up the idea of leadership. and a leader is supposed to be able to see farther and see more. than the regular people who don't have all that -- i think dean atchison once said the average american has at most ten minutes a day in which to think about foreign policy. the american public doesn't
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expect that you're simply going to sort of listen to -- implement everything that rush limbaugh spouts off on a given -- that's -- you don't have to do that. you don't have to think that way. but you do have to understand the structure of this sub american culture. its political preferences, its cultural signals, and you need to work with the american people rather than to try to rush past them if you want to be successful in the world of american foreign policy. thank you very much. [ applause ] >> all right, we're going to take questions in groups of three and hopefully will get some through twitter, so, sam in
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the back has the microphone. we have a question up here, sam. start with this one. >> thanks, professor mead. great presentation. i know it's not on the agenda, but maybe you could interpret george w. bush for us, as well, in your framework a little bit and where the land lease and atlantic charter fit in, which seems like more of a hamiltonian and wilsonian appendage and even creating the u.n. >> all right. okay. >> another question? we can go ahead and rotate them. >> all right, since it was two or three all in one. i think george w. bush is someone who in a sense tried to repeat the roosevelt idea, which is, okay, in many ways 911 functioned in american politics like pearl harbor, sneak attack
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by treacherous enemy, which then summons up an enormous public desire to do something about it. but what bush then did was to say, okay, if we really want to deal with terrorism, we have to go to iraq. so he diverted the public current from afghanistan to iraq. turned out, you know, on grounds that jacksonians, you know, saw as pretty clear. okay, weapons of mass destruction given to terrorists, that sounds like grounds for war to us. then when it turned out that there were no -- you know, this weapons program wasn't nearly as advanced as had been suggested, he turned it into a wilsonian war, which to this day is the establishment -- republican
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establishment is paying the price for the wilsonian war to bring democracy to iraq. something that jacksonians actually thought never could happen, and, b, didn't think would be worth a war, even if it were possible. and so this idea of eliminating terrorism by eliminating the causes of terrorism defined as bad government, underdevelopment, and so on, which is very appealing to wilsonians and hamiltonians. jacksonians don't think that's possible. the way you defeat terrorists is killing terrorists, rather you turn the middle east into western europe. so i think there bush was shrewd at reading the signals of
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jacksonian america, but made poor policy choices that a ultimately crippled his presidency. and i think, again, are still being felt. you could see the consequences in the republican primary. in terms of lend lease and the atlantic charter, i think the atlantic charter and u.n. declaration of human rights are things jacksonians don't generally pay a lot of attention to. you know what, if stalin is signing a charter, a universal declaration of human rights, it must be a totally empty facade, because he would never sign anything that would limit his ability to put millions of people in gulocks, and, of course, they were right. now one can attempt to then make something out of that over the years. there will never be a lot of
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jacksonian support for a human rights based foreign policy in those ways. i think there are other ways that something can be done, but the idea that universal declarations of principle to be enforced by international institutions, that is never something that is going to get a lot of jacksonian support in the united states. which means in practice that the amount of political energy that the u.s. has to put in these things is actually limited. and so we can only push these things so far. and you can -- policy makers often get in trouble because they don't recognize, you know, just how tight the political limits are to this, and just, you know, so they sort of overpromise and then discover they are unable to deliver the american government. lend lease was interesting,
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because again that was a masterful example of franklin roosevelt using the credibility he had with jacksonians to say, you know, he gave a fireside chat. he says, you know, if your neighbor's house is on fire, and he comes over and asks to borrow your hose, you don't, like, get into a lot of things like accounting over how much the hose costs and so on. you give him the hose and then he's going to give it back to you when the fire is out. that was the analogy he used. tanks don't actually work like garden hoses and so on, but it was a clear enough illustration of the underlying principle that, you know, lend lease got through. wasn't whooped through congress. there was a fight. so, again, the ability to describe a policy initiative in terms that make sense to the average person is, you know, it's something that some people have and some people don't, and
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if you don't have it, your ability to make america work in foreign policy is going to be limited. do i call them? how do we do this? >> if you want to -- we'll let sam hand the mike to a few folks there. >> okay. >> tony smith, french american foundation. >> good to see you again. >> yes. >> arguably -- well, let's take your argument to -- and apply it to today, if you wouldn't mind. we have a president who is maybe more jacksonian than jackson, and that would seem then taking your argument that this is an unprecedented opportunity for the wilsonians and jeffersonians and hamiltonians to get their idea through, since the jacksonians have so much trust in the current president. therefore, the trick would be
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how do you get the ideas of the elite probably represented in this room to the jacksonian our president? >> similar to the last one, so i can see you probably connect them, but how effective can a jacksonian president, as we have right now, be when we're -- it's essentially an inversion of a lot of the models you've mentioned where you have a president who's not necessarily a jacksonian, but willing to -- is aware that they have some sort of check on their policy options. to what degree will these other schools of thought have a check on a jacksonian foreign policy? >> all right. those questions are related.
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you know, again, i think the big thing that has happened in american foreign policy in the last generation was that we had basically a three school coalition behind the cold war. you had the hamiltonians and wilsonians and the jacksonians. the hamiltonians and wilsonians were enthusiastic about building world order and the free world. the jacksonians were never sold on that stuff, but did want to beat communism and stop the soviet union. so, you know, you could sort of, if you were the president and needed to send aid to an african dictator who you and everybody else knew was going to send that money straight to switzerland, but you had strategic reasons for needing to do it, the way you could get someone like jesse
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helms to support that, if we don't do it, he'll get it from the russians and then he'll be their guy. so you could always get jacksonian support because of the real perception of soviet threat. but in 1990, the jacksonians begin to lose interests. the cold war's over. no big danger. wilsonians and hamiltonians, however, both double down, thinking with the soviet union gone it's going to be easier than ever to build an elaborate global order led by the united states promoting our economic and ideological interests. it's the end of history, we're going to transform the world, and we don't -- you know, we don't need the jacksonians, because foreign policy is going to be so easy. in fact, we can reduce our military budget, we can reduce our foreign aid budget, our usia
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budget, we can put less into the international system and take less out so we don't need the jacksonians. and as a result american foreign policy moved further and further away from the kinds of -- from any kind of construct that could make sense in a jacksonian framework. and wilsonians and hamiltonians were fine with that. but as we've seen, you know, particularly in the last six to eight years as the world situation gets darker, american foreign policy is going to require a lot more energy and focus, but the way we have structured the policies, the way we've talked about them, they are now very, very hard things to sell to jacksonians. i'd love for some of you to go out to explain why the united states should go out to myanmar
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to protect the rohingya, or do anything to help the rohingya, to a jacksonian audience. so we've gotten ourselves into an elaborate set of institutional arrangements and sort of political value promotion than, in fact, the sort of motor of american foreign policy doesn't buy. and the question is, how do you begin to move back toward a policy that can, you know, for times where america really needs to have an act of policy. so, yes, the fact that in president trump there is somebody who has a certain amount of credibility with jacksonian america, so if you can persuade that guy, you do have a shot at then him using his bully pulpit for a foreign
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policy that doesn't just achieve jacksonian ends. i think that is an opportunity. but again, if we look at the attitudes of most people in the washington policy community toward president trump, you know, the idea of engaging in an honest and profound searching dialogue with president trump when you're trying to find common ground and so on is not one that's spontaneously comes to the mind of the washington community, which is, you know, looking, i think basically for ways it can get rid of him. so, again, i think the gap, the deep alienation between jacksonian america and the america where hamiltonians and wilsonians are most concentrated is a crippling disease for the country. and each, you know, and to get
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anywhere i think in some ways wilsonians and hamiltonians and others are going to have to eat a little humble pie, which is not a dish that any of us particularly like, and to reflect on, you know, how do you persuade a man like a donald trump or a steve bannon? what elements of our foreign policy of the last 25 years, you know, can survive that test? again, i think we've built a very complex foreign policy fundamentally as a tradeoff between hamiltonians and wilsonians and we've invested a lot of energy and built a lot of structures into it and have entered into arrangements with other countries that are based on that, but it is looking to me as if that arrangement is not
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politically sustainable inside the united states. the fact that hillary clinton had to drop tpp in the election campaign should tell us all this is a bigger problem than trump. the problem is that the foreign policy to which the elites committed themselves in the age of the end of history is not a foreign policy that the american people are prepared to support, at least as it's been explained and expounded. it is a serious problem, and it comes at a time when american power and american interests are challenged heavily abroad by a group of adversarial powers who have a pretty good nose for american weakness and division. it's a bad time.
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>> professor mead, do the jacksonians struggle with the notion of the moral imperative to prevent genocide? number one. and number two, how would jacksonians deal with the issue of preemptive action when faced with an immediate existential threat? >> okay, i would say jacksonians don't wrestle with the question of genocide, they think that's not really america's concern. so it's not even a wrestling. they would resist efforts to found, to base american policy on the prevention of genocide as an obligation. they would -- you know, there are ways you can make a genocide
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something that jacksonian america would go for. you know, the genocide of christians in the middle east has much more chance of becoming, you know, of connecting with something that jacksonians care about. so you have to, again, you can't -- i mean, you know, you can spend a lot of time lamenting the fact that other people don't see things the same way you do, but they don't. and in any policy relevant time frame you can't change their minds and they do have political weight. so these are just, you know, again, franklin roosevelt had to sit there unable to admit emergency jewish refugees, you know, as the holocaust was building up. so the limits are real and they
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are sometimes painful, but, you know, would he have done better by in a sense risking -- losing a lot of political capital over this issue in 36 through 38 probably would not have had a third term, you know, and would not have been in the position to do what he did during the war. so, you know, these are the tradeoffs. i'm sorry, the other part of the question? [ inaudible question ] that's much more -- that's much more up the jacksonian alley. again, jacksonians by and large recognize two kinds of adversaries. you have the kind that, you know, the sort of honorable enemy. you know, and the way many americans perhaps falsely saw
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ramel during world war ii as someone who's a professionally confident general, but who also treats prisoners of war fairly, you know, under the laws of war, and when the enemy is observing the laws of war and so on, then you do, too. but they don't see any kind of absolute claim that you have to observe the laws of war if the enemy doesn't. so once a regime or a country has been established in jacksonian perception as fundamentally an outlaw, they are outside of the law. so this is why, you know, for example the question of guantanamo, you know, obama could never get congress to support anything that could have effectively closed guantanamo, and why guantanamo, again, became an issue with -- somewhat limited circles, but never
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caught on as a national issue. because for jacksonians, hey, a terrorist, you know, somebody fighting with isis or the taliban or al qaeda against america, what constitutional rights? what anything? 62% of americans will tell the pugh poll that under at least some circumstances they favor torture. and the word torture is used. you know, they say to a stranger that under some circumstances i support the use of torture. and that two-thirds figure, which includes those who say rarely, as opposed to those who say it more often, has remained constant during the iraq war and after. so there is, you know -- and this again, these positions seem
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like common sense to them. so, one has to -- again, you go to war with the country you have. you fight a war with the country that you have. and that doesn't -- again, that doesn't mean that you sort of cater to every, you know, every element of a jacksonian agenda and so on, but if you lose their trust, you lose the ability to do a lot of things that i think are necessary. so, this has been my message for a long time. it remains my message now. if you care about american foreign policy, you must look at ways of bridging the gap between jacksonian america and foreign policy elites. you will otherwise condemn this country to impotence and
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distraction. nothing good will come of trying to just keep them away. you cannot be accomplished. and to the extent that you do succeed in driving jacksonian america out of the world of foreign policy, you diminish the political, financial, and military resources, which the united states can bring to foreign policy questions of any kind. thank you very much. [ applause ] >> thank you, great way to end. thanks to the audience for the questions and the staff and to c-span. this was the epitome in the use of history to understand current problems and couldn't come at a more appropriate time. so thank you, professor mead.
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you're watching american history tv. 48 hours of programming on american history every weekend on c-span3. follow us on twitter @c-spanhistory for information on our schedule and to keep up with the latest history news. with more than 50,000 produced between 1942 and 1945, the m4 sherman tank was the most commonly used american tank in world war ii. up next, iraq and afghanistan tank veteran nicolas moran discusses the design and history of the m4 sherman tank. mr. moran argues that the m4 sherman tank was the best u.s. tank during world war ii because of its versatility, low production cost, and reliability. nicolas moran is director of military relations for wargaming america, whose "world of


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